The Australian Small Business Blog

Friday, February 23, 2007

4 Ways to build your profile and support your local community group of choice

A new opportunity has drifted in with the surge of online marketing. This opportunity is for businesses to easily support their local community groups and become part of a bigger picture taking on a philanthropic role.

Change in consumer behaviour and brand loyalty over the previous few years has rapidly increased with the rise of generation y, who are in nature more consciously aware of their environment and social impact.

This change in behaviour has seen the increase in loyalty towards companies and businesses that take on social and environmental challenges such as climate change, charities and support for local sporting organisations.

We are literally now seeing a generation that is looking to be part of a story and feel like they can impact the bigger picture by the way they run their daily lives.

Some fantastic and recent examples include Safeway donating all profits from one day of trading to go to farmers in drought stricken areas, Channel 7’s Sunrise show educating on how to reduce the impact of climate change and Westpac signing an agreement to no longer fund projects that harm the environment. The list is endless.

So what can medium sized businesses do for local community groups when they may not necessarily have the funding to make a big lump sum donation?

Utilise your existing online resources to assist in creating awareness for a particular charity or cause. The benefits in this are numerous. Number one there is ease of implementation but secondly and more importantly you are exposing your customers and prospects to the bigger picture that is in alignment with your own customer’s values and beliefs.

Here are 4 simple strategies that you can employ to generate awareness for your local organisation or cause through on and offline.

1. Create an “awareness page” on your website
An awareness page is a short but sweet informational page that tells your web visitors and customers about the organisation you support and how to offer assistance if they so desire to do so i.e. donations and volunteering.

2. Add information to your invoicing
Every invoice that is delivered to your clientele represents an opportunity for you to further promote other products and services as well as feature a local community group of your choice.

3. Section in your regular email campaign
With easy to use email systems allowing business owners to regularly send out monthly or even weekly newsletters there is great scope for a reoccurring section in the newsletter to be dedicated to a local community group of choice.

4. Brochures/information resources at events/in store
Whether you own a shop front or run events for your clients there is always a special place for brochures or information resources to be placed on behalf of a local community group.

How do you choose which group to support?

This needs to be a very careful decision that is brainstormed within your business. Political issues such as David Hicks are typically a no go zone as the general community including your customer base may be split in their opinion on the matter.

Aim for a community group or cause that is within alignment with your business goals but more importantly your customer’s goals and values. Are you a sporting goods store? Can you support the local football team? Do you sell cosmetics? Can you support only cosmetic ranges that do not test on animals? Do you run a health food store? Can you support research into cancer?

By utilising your online resources you can give something that you may not have been able to give before to the local or larger community. And that is awareness. Awareness of a local organisation or cause in which people will be more pro actively engaged in.

The Melbourne Council Boroondara are currently hosting business and community networking events that are encouraging mutually beneficial relationships between the two parties.

If you would like to register to take part click here now for more information and dates…

Ben Angel is the director of Nationwide Networking

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